Q&A with the Fabulous Februarys: Authors Jessie Chandler, Louise McBain, and Amy Briant

Bella is releasing three exciting new titles in February:

Our Fabulous February authors Amy, Jessie and Louise sat down to talk about books, writing and some Rather Surprising Other Topics.

AMY: What are you reading these days? I’ve been reading classic mysteries and thrillers lately – John le Carré’s THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, James M. Cain’s THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, John Buchan’s THE 39 STEPS.

JESSIE: I’m reading THE NINJA DAUGHTER by Tori Eldridge. It’s about a kick ass Chinese-Norwegian ninja named Lily Wong. Lily gets her butt kicked and then takes out the bad guys in nothing flat. I like that!

LOUISEA PROPER CUPPA TEA by KG MacGregor. I’m excited to be attending Clexacon in Las Vegas this year and doing my best to read all the authors who will be attending.

AMY: What’s your all-time favorite book? For me, it’s a tie – Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and Josephine Tey’s MISS PYM DISPOSES. If you’re a mystery fan and you don’t know about Josephine Tey, I cannot recommend her highly enough.

JESSIE: Mine’s a tie too – between J.M. Redmann’s THE INTERSECTION OF LAW AND DESIRE and Lisa Unger’s BEAUTIFUL LIES.


AMY: Now tell us something readers don’t know about you, like a hidden talent or special interest. For myself, I’m fascinated by Craftsman architecture to the point that I visited the Elbert Hubbard Museum in East Aurora, NY a few years back. Because let’s face it – you haven’t lived if you haven’t visited the Elbert Hubbard Museum in East Aurora, NY.

JESSIE: I love to paint. Mixed media’s my newest passion, and I adore the moments when I don’t have to think, I can just feel the colors and the designs pour out of me onto the canvas. Kind of like writing but not!

LOUISE: I can wiggle my ears.

AMY: That’s actually disturbing, Louise. Moving on – what’s something from your real life that’s also in your book? There’s always a lot of me in my books. Three somewhat obscure nuggets from my San Diego childhood popped up in THE BOOK OF KELL which I recently blogged about.

JESSIE: Flavela Cubana is a real Cuban/Brazilian restaurant located between SoHo and the West Village. This is where my family and I ate after the 2017 Lambda Literary Awards (my 5th Shay O’Hanlon Caper Series BLOOD MONEY MURDER had been shortlisted but, alas, didn’t win) and where Flynn, my main character in QUEST FOR REDEMPTION, meets up with an old high school friend in an attempt to con her into helping with a heist. The food was delish, and the mojito Flynn drinks was the bomb!

LOUISECLAIMING CAMILLE is set in Washington, DC where I also live. I think the Nation’s Capital is the best kept secret in the country. Everyone is wicked smart (many have advanced degrees and are bilingual) and the architecture is beautiful. Parks and trees are everywhere and the museums are free. Shhhh!

AMY: Your secret is safe with me. But what’s something you learned from writing your February book? I did a lot of research on survival skills for THE BOOK OF KELL. If anybody needs help building a fish trap, I’m on it!

JESSIE: How incredibly hard it is to find suitable lodging for someone in a wheelchair. The city (NYC) is so old, and many buildings are unable to accommodate wheelchairs or people with mobility issues.

LOUISE: Characters don’t always cooperate with outlines.

AMY: Describe yourself in one word. I’m going with “smartypants.”

JESSIE: Empathetic.

LOUISE: Clever. But I do not use my powers for evil. Okay, not since high school.

AMY: How would YOU fare in the post-apocalypse? You’d think my research for THE BOOK OF KELL would have prepared me well. Also, I’m mean as a snake. But realistically, I give myself a couple of weeks max. Unless, of course, I hook up with some kickass Amazons like Kell does…

JESSIE: I think I’d do okay. Let’s hit the woods!

LOUISE: I’m terrified of the post apocalypse and fear I would end up as someone’s dinner before I’d be able to forage my own. It’s one of the reasons I live in Washington, DC. I want to go in the first wave.

AMY: It’s settled then – we’re all going to Jessie’s house for the post-apocalypse. But on to our next question. Every great movie has a tagline. What’s your book’s tagline? “The post-apocalypse is looking mighty queer.”

JESSIE: “Look out Gotham.”

LOUISE: “How do you trust your future when your past is a lie?”

AMY: What’s next for you, writing-wise? I’m working on Novel #5 which is taking me in a completely different direction – I’m very excited about that! But the next book to be published will most likely be a collection of short stories like this one.

JESSIESHANGHAI MURDER, the 6th in my Shay O’Hanlon Caper series.

LOUISE: I am wrapping up my next contemporary romance for Bella Books. Look for MAYBE CHARLOTTE next fall!

AMY: Well, this has been most illuminating! My thanks to Jessie and Louise for baring their souls. Please check out our new releases on the Bella website. And connect with us on social media. You’ll find all kinds of inside info and fun stuff at these links – you might even score a free copy!

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